The earliest surviving records of the proxy virus dated back to -861 on Adari. A preserved drawing on a woven mat depicted an unknown individual succumbing to the virus. Those who got the virus fell into a period of uncharacteristic unresponsiveness before becoming violent and erratic. Within the affected communities, a superstition had spread relating to the virus’s cause -- it was believed that those with the virus had been cursed by malicious spirits and turned into proxies of evil, hence the virus’s name. Live samples of the proxy virus were stored in Ilesar’s Centro de Investigación Patógena (CIP) for research purposes. As the virus cannot survive outside a host, it had to be stored in cultivated human tissue.
The proxy virus was predominantly spread through contact with contaminated saliva. Symptoms of the proxy virus included high fevers, chills, and brain inflammation. However, the virus’s most infamous characteristics were its three stages of progressive neural degeneracy.
In the first stage, the patient became unresponsive to stimuli, both internal and external, as the virus began attacking their sensory nerves. Visually, the patient’s eyes would become glassy. Survivors of the proxy virus often recalled that they were locked in a state of disorientation and had lost control of their senses during the onset of the virus.
In the second stage, the patient would become aggressive and attack anything they identified as a mobile lifeform. At this stage, the virus had breached the blood-brain barrier, and recovery for the patient was nearly impossible. The virus would cause an inflammation of the brain, triggering high fevers. The inflammation itself was responsible for the patient’s loss of bodily and cognitive control. It was theorized that the proxy virus caused its victims to pursue physical conflict in order to increase the chances of human-human transmission through the infliction of wounds and the subsequent exchange of blood and/or saliva, thus increasing the virus’s lifespan within the population.
By the third stage, the patient had suffered major brain damage. The aggressive behavior subsided, but most of the patient’s neural networks were also destroyed. Death was caused by either a paralysis of the lungs or of the heart.
The proxy virus had been observed in the local fauna on Adari. The most common outbreaks involved livestock becoming infected after contact with a wild animal, and these were quickly dealt with through the isolation and death of the infected livestock. Although rarer, human outbreaks were not unheard of. Due to Adari’s lack of societal centrality, outbreaks were often limited to local communities. In -74, the proxy virus ravaged a small, isolated community on the southern coast. A messenger had been sent to a nearby village for help, but by the time they returned, the virus had taken its toll. There were no survivors.
The proxy virus’s threat increased when biologists from the IU member islands developed a strong interest studying Adarian ecosystems to further evolutionary theory.
Once the virus became more understood, there was a strong desire to prevent the virus’s spread to other islands. The proxy virus was heavily studied by IU scientists from 80–94, and vaccine was created by 91. The vaccine was required for all travelers to Adari. Several medical programs funded by the IU as well as medical volunteer groups made the vaccine freely available to residents of Adari, if they desired to receive it. A vaccine specifically for livestock was developed by 92.
By 518, the proxy virus had a 0% incidence rate in the human population. With the exception of the live samples kept at the CIP, there were no reports of the virus’s presence on any other island. With the desire to reduce the number of mandatory vaccinations for the Ingenuity’s passengers, it was decided that the proxy virus vaccination would be optional after much debate. It was concluded that the virus, with its successful containment in Adari, was unlikely to make it aboard the ship.
Cases of proxy virus were severe and required hospitalization. Patients were placed in a coma, and artificial antibodies targeting the virus were periodically administered for the next ten days.
As the virus is present in the saliva of infected individuals, it theoretically could be an airborne virus, although it must be present in high concentrations and would require long exposure times. It is worth mentioning that it could be a concern, regarding the ship’s recycled air system, although an epidemic is impossible. No samples of the proxy virus are present on the Ingenuity.